Feed a Family

Feed A Family

Feed A Family is programme facilitated by the Auckland St Vincent de Paul Centre in Newton that seeks to raise awareness and respond to Food Insecurity.


The programme has different components and services. 

1. Kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) and building trust as well as connections with those seeking support and with local advocates.

2. Response: Understanding, advocacy and referral. Support is achieved through practical help and the provision of food boxes which include nutritious cooked meals.

3. Building of Relationships: with those seeking support, other social service providers, school communities, local parishes and donors.

4. Education and Awareness: Sharing the stories and factual information in colleges, church communities and local communities through presentations and mulitmedia.

5. Fundraising and sponsorship:  Winter and Christmas Appeals to support families in need.

6. Feed A Family youth food projects: Launching of canned food collections, Cooking projects etc.

Each of these services and opportunities to assist are offered in the hope of bringing our communities closer together, as we are reminded by the Gospels that we are also called to God through our care of one another.

Vinnies News Weekly

March Highlights

Reflecting, Serving & Connecting

At the beginning of this school term, students from across Auckland put their hands up and said ‘YES’ to upholding the dignity of their community members through meaningful service. In many cases they mobilised their peers and wider student body, engaging in challenging conversations around food insecurity, homelessness, incarceration and social exclusion.

Prior to the lockdown, a number of schools took their learning to the next level and partipated in bulk cooking programmes for families in need. This entailed preparing large amounts of nutritionous meals to accompany food parcels for families and individuals in need. The colleges of De La Salle, Rosmini and Carmel were among the first to begin this work of service, contributing a significant amount of time aside from their studies to ensure less people go hungry.

The students of Baradene College also sought to make a difference for families; organising a school wide food drive. Over $5,000 worth of non perishable food items were donated. Prior to the lockdown, this provided a much needed boost for foodbanks across Auckland.

Each of these works of service proved immensely pivotal with getting students connected to their communities. Amidst the realities of the current Covid-19 lockdown, these young men and women were able to faithfully support those struggling to make ends meet. Their enthusiasm and eagerness to serve left an impression on the Auckland Vinnies team, who have continued the journey of service up to now.


We Are in This Together

As the lockdown continues amidst the global pandemic caused by covid-19, families are balancing the roles of helping to prevent disease transmission whilst also ensuring there is enough food to put on the table. A number of foodbanks run by various non-for profit collectives have closed across the country since the lockdown announcement. Foodbanks such as those operated by Auckland Society of St Vincent de Paul branches have been working overtime to keep families fed during the covid-19 pandemic. In response to this, a number of young adults have stepped up to offer any support they can. In anticipation of the growing need within the community, bulk chillers and freezers were connected and made ready for the incoming bulk food for the Vinnies foodbank. Between receiving stock, organising the foodbank and preparing logistics, these men and women would find time to fill in foodparcel requests for the Auck CBD, wider community areas as well as family lists from Social workers.

 The realities of the covid-19 have been realised none more so than in our communities. Amidst calls to ensure the health and safety of families across the country, food has become even more important as both comfort and source of nutrition during this time of grief and healing. The unfolding of the lockdown has since called into question how Aotearoa as a nation might be able to ward off a food crisis that is pandemic-related. In response to this, young adults have been operating Foodbank Satellites from their homes all over Auckland. The bulk stock is dropped off to their homes and they are given lists of deliveries in their local area. Within the last few weeks alone there has been a steep surge in requests coming in from families needing support. This has meant an increase of teams and added precautions around social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing and sterilizing. The team of staff and volunteers have been working around the clock to process orders and pack boxes to meet the demand.

Health and wellbeing is influenced heavily by what and how we eat. The ability to consume food that is nutritional and accessible has become undermined by the intertwining of numerous realities. The reality for many families is that job security has been shaken, and in some cases rendered absent altogether. There are utility payments that still need to be paid. There are growing health care needs amongst those who live in homes with poor insulation. There are those who have isolated themselves in sickness with little to no access to support. While food is a significant need, many families have sorely missed the opportunities for face to face conversations or having someone there to hear their story.

The Auckland Vinnies team recognise that now, more than ever, solidarity, compassion and prayers will be what builds resilience against food insecurity. It is well known amongst the staff and volunteers of SVdP that upholding dignity through meaningful relationships will be key to ensuring that families do not go without during their time of need.


Feed a Family

March Highlights

We Are in This Together

As the lockdown continues amidst the global pandemic caused by covid-19, families are balancing the roles of helping to prevent disease transmission whilst also ensuring there is enough food to put on the table. A number of foodbanks run by various non-for profit collectives have closed across the country since the lockdown announcement. Foodbanks such as those operated by Auckland Society of St Vincent de Paul branches have been working overtime to keep families fed during the covid-19 pandemic. In response to this, a number of young adults have stepped up to offer any support they can. In anticipation of the growing need within the community, bulk chillers and freezers were connected and made ready for the incoming bulk food for the Vinnies foodbank. Between receiving stock, organising the foodbank and preparing logistics, these men and women would find time to fill in foodparcel requests for the Auck CBD, wider community areas as well as family lists from Social workers.

 The realities of the covid-19 have been realised none more so than in our communities. Amidst calls to ensure the health and safety of families across the country, food has become even more important as both comfort and source of nutrition during this time of grief and healing. The unfolding of the lockdown has since called into question how Aotearoa as a nation might be able to ward off a food crisis that is pandemic-related. In response to this, young adults have been operating Foodbank Satellites from their homes all over Auckland. The bulk stock is dropped off to their homes and they are given lists of deliveries in their local area. Within the last few weeks alone there has been a steep surge in requests coming in from families needing support. This has meant an increase of teams and added precautions around social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing and sterilizing. The team of staff and volunteers have been working around the clock to process orders and pack boxes to meet the demand.

Health and wellbeing is influenced heavily by what and how we eat. The ability to consume food that is nutritional and accessible has become undermined by the intertwining of numerous realities. The reality for many families is that job security has been shaken, and in some cases rendered absent altogether. There are utility payments that still need to be paid. There are growing health care needs amongst those who live in homes with poor insulation. There are those who have isolated themselves in sickness with little to no access to support. While food is a significant need, many families have sorely missed the opportunities for face to face conversations or having someone there to hear their story.

The Auckland Vinnies team recognise that now, more than ever, solidarity, compassion and prayers will be what builds resilience against food insecurity. It is well known amongst the staff and volunteers of SVdP that upholding dignity through meaningful relationships will be key to ensuring that families do not go without during their time of need.


Vinnies News Weekly

February Highlights

The Gift of Whanaungatanga

Whanaungatanga is about building long-lasting relationships. It also about whānau and communities working together. This allows for collectives to make decisions and act in ways that support sustainable growth. At the Society of St Vincent de Paul centre in Auckland Central, the new space has allowed for new connections to be made and nurtured. Alongside having a foodbank and advocacy hub, the facility has created opportunities for hospitality, both for those in need as well as those who volunteer. In Auckland we are fortunate to have such a diverse and talented volunteer base. This is further strengthened by the countless leaders, mentors and wider family groups who continue to support the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Across all age groups, these individuals have been the back-bone of the Society; assisting those who are homeless, those who are incarcerated, those who are elderly and isolated, the hungry and the marginalised. Recently, a number of volunteers from across the high school and tertiary programmes in particular gathered for an evening of whanaungatanga, so as to share in the joys of their service and bring together their experiences. The Society is grateful for these amazing people who live out kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) connections.

Secondary School & Tertiary Programme Volunteers
Sisters of St Joseph with Vinnies Centre Staff

Students Leading the Way in their Communities

As part of the Secondary Schools programme, emphasis is placed on giving students as much opportunity to develop their leadership skills as possible. The Auckland Vinnies Youth Team also recognise that these are some of the most important years for student volunteers. The invitation therefore is to sustain programmes which are thought-provoking, meaningful and fun. In essense, it is about providing the tools for these young men and women to navigate their service and faith journeys together. It has been insightful connecting in with student leaders from across Auckland recently, as they have varying hopes and needs for the year ahead. There is a sense of excitement as they lay out their plans for service within the community; laughter as they consider how to live into their roles amidst school work and other commitments. Irrespective of where they are placed for the year, there is an underlying hope that they will complete 2020 with a greater understanding of the communities in need as well as their call to support.


Earlier in the month, the Auckland Vinnies Youth Team had the opportunity to meet up with the entire Year 12 student cohort of Marist College. It was moving to lead a session on Catholic Social Teaching within a space brimming with passionate students. The purpose of this visit was to bring to life the ways in which the Society of St Vincent de Paul practice these teachings. It was also an opportunity for students to assess how they understand needs within the community and how they inform the decisions they make around assistance.


Sharing a Meal with the Community

Auckland City Mission is a hub in the heart of the city, providing a source of support for those without a home, those with addictions and those struggling to put food on the table. In 2019 alone City Mission distributed 23,000 emergency food parcels to families and individuals in desperate need. They were able to house over 50 people through housing first, provide 17,000 medical consultations to vulnerable, high-needs patients; and admit 354 people to residential drug & alcohol detoxification. At the centre of their services is a recognition of peoples dignity and the significance of compassionate care. The Society of St Vincent de Paul is grateful for the opportunity to journey alongside other organisations that support the community. The tuesday night shared meal for wahine continues to run strong, with many volunteers from the Society taking part. This is a space for women to cook a hearty dinner and connect in with other women who do not have a place to call home. It is the spirit of conversation and sharing stories that make these mealtimes so memorable.


Experiential Learning Through Service

The Society of St Vincent de Paul recognise the importance of seeing a need, reflecting on how to address it and acting in a way that upholds the dignity of people at all stages. By providing a space for new volunteers to learn what service looks like, this has brought forth a wealth of knowledge in terms of culture, servant leadership, and vulnerability. The Vinnies Centre in Auckland Central has been fortunate to host a number of groups seeking to learn about the community and the significance of leadership. Unibound assisted the Vinnies Centre staff with making bulk food parcels as well as packing and sorting care packs. Throughout these processes, the prospective students learn about the needs of the community and why these services are so important.


Journeying with Those who are Incarcerated

Volunteering at Mt Eden Corrections facility has provided an insightful experience for those involved. Operating at almost full capacity, over 1,000 people are currently incarcerated at this facility. Though the chaplaincy volunteers do not get to meet all of these individuals, they seek to create meaningful encounters with those whom they serve. Regardless of where the offender or victim has come from, each has their own story from which they may gain wisdom from. Taking place on a fortnightly basis, the volunteers involved lead a liturgy of the word; providing a space for sharing in kōrero (conversation) and waiata (song). These experiences are significant as they provide an opportunity for reflection and compassionate understanding. Yvonne, a key leader of the Vinnies volunteers has been serving in this ministry for over five years. Prior to this, she has led the way in countless other ministries and youth groups. Her care and compassion has inspired many other volunteers and has especially had a significant influence on those who are in prison. It with sadness that Yvonne has since moved abroad for the next chapter of her journey. The Society of St Vincent de Paul recognises her contribution to the community and wishes her the best in the years to come.


Feed a Family

February Highlights

The Feed a Family Story

The vision for the Feed A Family appeal was initiated in 2015 by the foodbank staff and youth team of St Vincent de Paul of Kingsland Centre. With the rise in ‘food insecurity’ and the growing awareness that this was an invisible issue which needed to be addressed.

After much discussion it was understood that people impacted by food insecurity, those providing foodbank services as well as those who wanted to assist needed to come together. There needed to be ongoing face to face connections so as to grow in understanding and propose a way forward together. What unfolded over time was a comprehensible awareness educational programme for Vinnies in Catholic secondary schools. These shed light on systemic drivers of food insecurity and the stories of those affected.

Today this food Insecurity programme – Feed A Family is facilitated in 15 Catholic colleges in Auckland. As a response to this kaupapa, students and staff learn about the stories of those affected. They also learn about the causes of food insecurity before mobilising their school to collect food. This is then distributed to families seeking support from foodbanks.

In addition to this, students are also invited to volunteer in Vinnies centres so to get an integrated experience of what happens behind the scenes in order to alleviate poverty. The students are also invited to take part in the cooking of bulk nutritious meals to give to those who simply do not have the means, ability or resources to cook them. This part of the programme was a direct response to families and individuals sharing stories about the challenges of accessing cooked nutritious meals. Often the places these families were housed in either did not have adequate cooking facilities, insufficient funds, stress, time pressures as well as ill health.

In 2017 another part of this Feed A Family programme was been rolled out in the central Auckland Catholic parishes through the Winter and Christmas Feed A Family Appeal. Through this appeal, the stories of those afflicted are shared during Mass and an invitation is given out to parishioners to accompany a family through prayers. They are also invited to support through the sponsoring of a foodbox for the week or a month.

Each of these services and opportunities to assist are offered in the hope of bringing our communities closer together, as we are reminded by the Gospels that we are also called to God through our care of one another.


KiwiHarvest Lending a Helping Hand

The Society of St Vincent are grateful recipients of KiwiHarvest, a non-for-profit organisation that specialises in redistributing fresh food produce that might otherwise be thrown in for waste. These quality sources of food have proven invaluable to the formation of food parcels, as the items are nutritional and sustainable. These provide a welcome respite for families who might otherwise receive canned or non-perishable items for the majority of their foodparcels. When coupled with the donations of the ‘Feed a Family’ appeal this ensures that meals are both healthy and filling.


Accompanying and Supporting Families

In the last year over 5,000 people were supported through the provision of food parcels and budgeting advice. These come at an important time for many, particularly those who struggle to find where their next meal will come from. Often those who seek support from the Society of St Vincent de Paul are those who encounter an unexpected setback. Through the donations of the ‘Feed A Family’ appeal, food becomes one less thing for families to worry about. By redirecting money from groceries to other costs such as utilities and debt, families are able to get a stronger foothold on living costs. A number of volunteers and staff work hard to ensure that families are receiving quality food parcel and referral assistance. Each food parcel contains a mix of nutritional, easy to cook ingredients including fruit, vege and meat produce. The donations towards the appeal are significant in the sense that families are able to create meals which are healthy and positively contribute to their wellbeing. 


Sharing a Meal with the Community

Auckland City Mission is a hub in the heart of the city, providing a source of support for those without a home, those with addictions and those struggling to put food on the table. In 2019 alone City Mission distributed 23,000 emergency food parcels to families and individuals in desperate need. They were able to house over 50 people through housing first, provide 17,000 medical consultations to vulnerable, high-needs patients; and admit 354 people to residential drug & alcohol detoxification. At the centre of their services is a recognition of peoples dignity and the significance of compassionate care. The Society of St Vincent de Paul is grateful for the opportunity to journey alongside other organisations that support the community. The tuesday night shared meal for wahine continues to run strong, with many volunteers from the Society taking part. This is a space for women to cook a hearty dinner and connect in with other women who do not have a place to call home. It is the spirit of conversation and sharing stories that make these mealtimes so memorable. 

Auckland City Mission
Vinnies News Weekly

January Highlights

For Wāhine, by Wāhine

To bring about connection through face to face and a safe space for wahine to gather over the kitchen table for a home cooked meal. There is also the concern for food and nutrition security for all people, there has been a call for more effective and equitable food assistance; particularly for women in need within Auckland.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Auckland Citymission, Salvation Army amongst many other Charitable organisations works hard to achieve this through their different community programmes. 

Last September ,the Vinnies collaborated with the Auckland Citymission leaders and members of Te Miringa Trust to roll out a new initiative to care for the wahine who need a safe space to gather, have nutritious kai and have face to face conversations.

As part of the new initiative,the female volunteers from Vinnies and Te Miringa Trust volunteer alternatively every Tuesday to provide manakitanga (hospitality) through the preparing of and sharing of a three course  evening dinner. The venue is provided by Auckland City Mission, who also provide the kitchen facilities and the food to prepare. Over the weeks the numbers of participants have steadily increased from four to around fourty. The feedback has been very positive and there is an expectation that these numbers will continue to increase steadily.

The simple act of sharing in a dinner breaks down barriers and provides an opportunity for new connections to be made. In this safe and positive environment, the Vinnies Youth Volunteers continue to nurture deep and meaningful relationships with those present. This weekly project will continue to unfold over the coming year.


Caring for Those Who are Incarcerated

Each year over nine thousand people pass through the Auckland prisons. Within Mt Eden Corrections Facility alone, there are currently 1,040 men who are incarcerated. This number is expected to increase in the coming months as the new prison wings are opened for use following a facility upgrade in 2019. Regardless of the number of those who reside in Auckland prisons, a group of volunteers have been faithfully leading ministry for the men. Among them are some of the Vinnies Youth collective who dedicate their Sunday mornings to leading a liturgy of the word. This involves a reflection on the Word for the day, as well as sharing in prayer and song.

Vinnies Youth Volunteers

The unfolding of this ministry is not possible without the guidance and support of the prison chaplaincy team at Mt Eden Corrections facility. This team has been pivotal in providing chaplaincy support for inmates; particularly when navigating times of family illnesses, deaths, crisis, tragedies and celebrations. Recently the Vinnies volunteers who lead ministry met with the chaplains to prepare for the year ahead. It is hoped that this team will continue to grow and live into the roles set before them.

Prison Chaplaincy Team Meet with Vinnies Volunteers

Making Meals for the Multitudes: Youth Volunteers make Foodparcels for Families

Many people can go to the supermarket and purchase the food they need, but not everyone can get enough healthy food easily. This is part of the issue of food insecurity. As such, a sense of insecurity can vary from family to family. In response to a growing need for nutritionous and filling meals within Auckland, a diverse group of volunteers have been assisting the Society of St Vincent de Paul with making bulk food parcels. Some of the volunteers have also assisted in the making of labels, restocking the foodbank and filling up shampoo and detergent bottles destined for families.

This assistance comes at a welcome time as the number of families seeking assistance has all but decreased since the end of a busy Christmas season in 2019. The volunteers have been a source of energy and enthusiasm as they have seen and filled a need within the community. It is hoped that the parcels which they have made will go a long way to making sure that fewer families go hungry this month.


Feed a Family

January Highlights

For Wāhine, by Wāhine

To bring about connection through face to face and a safe space for wahine to gather over the kitchen table for a home cooked meal. There is also the concern for food and nutrition security for all people, there has been a call for more effective and equitable food assistance; particularly for women in need within Auckland.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Auckland Citymission, Salvation Army amongst many other Charitable organisations works hard to achieve this through their different community programmes. 

Last September ,the Vinnies collaborated with the Auckland Citymission leaders and members of Te Miringa Trust to roll out a new initiative to care for the wahine who need a safe space to gather, have nutritious kai and have face to face conversations.

As part of the new initiative,the female volunteers from Vinnies and Te Miringa Trust volunteer alternatively every Tuesday to provide manakitanga (hospitality) through the preparing of and sharing of a three course  evening dinner. The venue is provided by Auckland City Mission, who also provide the kitchen facilities and the food to prepare. Over the weeks the numbers of participants have steadily increased from four to around fourty. The feedback has been very positive and there is an expectation that these numbers will continue to increase steadily.

The simple act of sharing in a dinner breaks down barriers and provides an opportunity for new connections to be made. In this safe and positive environment, the Vinnies Youth Volunteers continue to nurture deep and meaningful relationships with those present. This weekly project will continue to unfold over the coming year.


Making Meals for the Multitudes: Youth Volunteers make Foodparcels for Families

Many people can go to the supermarket and purchase the food they need, but not everyone can get enough healthy food easily. This is part of the issue of food insecurity. As such, a sense of insecurity can vary from family to family. In response to a growing need for nutritionous and filling meals within Auckland, a diverse group of volunteers have been assisting the Society of St Vincent de Paul with making bulk food parcels. Some of the volunteers have also assisted in the making of labels, restocking the foodbank and filling up shampoo and detergent bottles destined for families.

This assistance comes at a welcome time as the number of families seeking assistance has all but decreased since the end of a busy Christmas season in 2019. The volunteers have been a source of energy and enthusiasm as they have seen and filled a need within the community. It is hoped that the parcels which they have made will go a long way to making sure that fewer families go hungry this month.